Obviously a Stranger in Paradise
Jay Cheshes's "The Scary Side of Paradise" (December 3) was a great story. I was born in the Bahamas, so I found it very interesting, probably one of the best articles I've seen that describes the situation in Nassau.

At the same time, it disturbed me somewhat. I was concerned by the tendency of the writer to refer to "black people" in order to gain support for his issue. In describing a poor neighborhood, Mr. Cheshes noted that most of the residents were poor and black. This would appear to have been written to gather some sympathy for Anton McIntosh, the accused killer in the story. To an American reader it might succeed. But as a black Bahamian, I believe it's irrelevant. Of course poor Bahamians are mostly poor and black. The country is 85 percent black.

I guess that I'm accustomed to living in a country where, as the majority, we never focused on race. It's only when a deeply concerned outsider comes to help us poor folks that we pick up the label "poor black Bahamian." To most of us it's just Bahamian, poor, white, black, yellow, or otherwise. I'll write it off to the American obsession with race.

Once again, though, it was a great story, really thorough. I just wanted to point out how the culture of the author can sometimes add various spins to a story. I wonder how different the article would have been had a Bahamian written it. Ah, but that would be assuming the author is American. I won't make that asumption.

Frederick A. Morris
Charlotte, North Carolina

From County Hall to Krome Detention Center
In response to Jim DeFede's column "A Day of Reckoning" (December 10), there are two points I would like to make regarding the passage of the county's gay rights ordinance:

1) Next time the commissioners gather for this or any other matter, make sure the people who are allowed to speak are U.S. citizens. The majority of them are not citizens and cannot vote. The Immigration and Naturalization Service will have a field day next time the commission meets and the fanatics of the Christian Coalition participate. I am sure lots of them are illegal.

2) Once again the Cuban Americans brought shame to all of us. All I can say is that when Cuba frees itself from Castro, it will also free itself from this bunch, who are a disgrace to the human race and to voters. Keep in mind those names when these individuals are up for re-election. Here is a reminder: Miriam Alonso, Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, Natacha Millan, Pedro Reboredo, and Javier Souto.

Bernardo Gutierrez
Miami Beach

They Got Theirs and Apparently That's Enough
It is really sad that every single county commissioner who voted against the gay rights ordinance is a direct beneficiary of the civil rights movement and affirmative action.

As for Commissioner Reboredo, if he does not have time to regularly attend meetings and represent his constituents, then he should step aside and allow someone who really cares to represent his district to take his place. Then he'll have time for all his business and personal commitments.

Rosa Reed
Princeton, Florida

The Christian Coalition: Homosexuality's Best Friend
I want to congratulate Jim DeFede for "A Day of Reckoning," in which he identified the real issue, which was not someone's sexual orientation but rather power. The Christian Coalition and its myrmidons need to be reminded that it was not Hirschfield's Sexualwissenschaft that destroyed Germany, but the blind ambition of the Nazi party and the hatred of its gay-bashing leader, Adolf Hitler.

The biggest promoter of the gay lifestyle continues to be the Christian Coalition. And that is because most people see right through them. Oscar Wilde said, "Morality is simply the attitude we adopt toward people whom we personally dislike." And to that I would add: More often than not, that person is oneself. Focusing on others is just a convenient way to avoid the real issue.

Ovid, Tacitus, Melville, Hawthorne, Conrad, and Sherwood Anderson should be required reading for those planning on running for office. Their writings would serve as a warning to these would-be heroes who see themselves as the keepers of our society's moral fiber. The real monster, the real enemy, is not homosexuality but what one sees in the mirror every morning.

Manny Losada

There Are Cubans and Then There Are Mere Immigrants
Miguel Rodriguez makes several dubious claims in his letter about Rep. David Skaggs and TV Marti ("Letters," December 10). For example he writes that Skaggs "probably considers [Cubans] to be mere immigrants, miserable and worthless." Now, it's my understanding that Cubans in this country, as well as Cuban Americans, actually are immigrants. As to their being "miserable and worthless," I am reminded of the words of Jesus to Pontius Pilate: "It is you who say it."

Furthermore, Mr. Rodriguez claims that the United States owes much more than $100 million to the people of Cuba. Even if this were true, the better question would be: To whom should the United States give these hundreds of millions of dollars? To the people living in Cuba or to a few wealthy individuals living in South Florida?

D.M. Christianson
Miami Beach

Marino: Malodorous
Sean Rowe's sophomoric dismantling of Miami superhero Dan Marino ("Chasing Danny," December 3) is a real stinker. I'm sure most readers picked up on this when Mr. Rowe began his piece with a masterful locker-room observation of Marino's natural bodily functions. From the very beginning Rowe makes himself out to be an angry, haphazard journalist from an obscure, third-rate rag who couldn't get an interview with an American legend. Judging from the few childlike and ignorant questions Mr. Rowe did manage to ask, I don't blame Marino one bit for opting not to waste his precious time on a reporter who obviously seems completely clueless about one of America's favorite pastimes.

Mr. Rowe insults football aficionados by dismissing them as "losers who depend on the team for their identity." Unfortunately he doesn't seem to understand that every facet of American society, from yarn-knitting grannies to coffee-house intellectuals, has been swept away at one point or another by the majesty and heroism of the sport, not to mention the millions of children who are mesmerized by these gifted athletes and influenced positively in many ways (putting aside all the corporate bullshit).

Digging himself deeper into his journalistic abyss, Mr. Rowe writes, "No one will even notice Marino's absence, and the slow eclipse of a superstar will be complete." Wrong again. Marino will join an elite group of people in American folklore, people such as Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Johnny Unitas, Reggie Jackson, Joe Montana, Michael Jordan, and others who have captivated millions with incomparable feats.

Further, Sean Rowe has insulted Miamians like myself who could give a rat's ass about how Marino feels about his celebrity. And he continues insulting us by putting down our team, one of the few things that, over the years, has brought our community together.

I'm sure Mr. Rowe's own farts lingered for awhile after he chowed down all the free pizza the team provided to the press, and wiped away a tear that trickled down his face because he couldn't get his little story from Danny.

You just don't get it, do you, Mr. Rowe? Do us all a favor and try reviewing drag shows in Iowa City or some other place far away from here. We just want our hero to win, win, win -- for him and for us in South Florida. We love you, Dan.

Ralph de la Portilla

Marino: Interminable
I have to say Sean Rowe's story on Dan Marino was the most long-winded piece of garbage I have ever read. Now I know why people like Marino would be mad at answering questions from someone like Mr. Rowe. He knows nothing about football or what real life is like.

I also understand why Mr. Rowe works for a weekly paper. As long-winded as that article was, it must have taken him a month to write such drivel.

Mike Mingo
East Windsor, New Jersey

Marino: Johnsonless
So Sean Rowe, who couldn't get information from Dan Marino and possibly didn't want to waste time doing research, passed up the opportunity to provide some insight on the Jimmy Johnson-Dan Marino problem. He chose not to go with Johnson, who would have been available for voluminous material, and overlooked the real issue -- JJ and Marino -- while trying to focus on Marino's private life.

Dan Marino may not be able to throw as far as some or as accurately as others, and he may not be as mobile. But he has no peer as a leader. His contagious confidence when the chips are down, his ability to inspire his teammates, is extraordinary and unequaled.

Jimmy Johnson says his own style of football will win. Without greatly superior talent, I have my doubts, and here is why: Telling your opponents what you intend to do and then ramming it down their throats is from a bygone era. Plus, it's stupid.

But the biggest problem goes deeper. Our country loves to bash its leaders, and many of our talented successful leaders do not know how to handle and even refuse to believe in the rare individual phenomenon. JJ is so awed by Marino's accomplishments that he is incapable of inspiring Marino to more greatness. Instead his ego feels threatened, so the passing game is de-emphasized, the hurry-up offense is scrapped, and Marino's leadership is further diminished by removing audibles.

Johnson's ability as a coach is unquestioned. His Super Bowl rings scream what a great coach he is. But the naysayers are growing more numerous.

Howard G. Kaufman
Miami Beach

Young Enough to Follow Orders
To correct the letter from Orlando A. Menendez headlined "Old Enough to Wreak Havoc" (October 22), it is not the Declaration of Independence that begins: "We the people ...." It is the United States Constitution. The Declaration of Independence begins: "When in the course of human events ...."

I agree with Mr. Menendez in opposing the wholesale clearing of Miami Beach's streets at night, but I disagree that the teen curfew is "punishment." Minors by definition do not have full legal rights. That unaccompanied kids under the age of seventeen should be home by 11:00 p.m. weeknights (midnight on weekends) is not an unreasonable boundary.

Carolyn Klepser
Miami Beach

Owing to a reporting error in Ted B. Kissell's story about the state Department of Health ("The Doctor Is Out," December 10), both the name of Dr. Bill Skeen's organization and his title were misidentified. The group is called the Florida AIDS Action Council. His title is director of public policy. New Times regrets the errors.


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